[WOMEN'S COLLEGE CUP] Finally, Stanford got the ending right. After going unbeaten before falling in the last two Women's College Cup finals, the Cardinal
capped another unbeaten campaign with a 1-0 victory over Duke to capture its first NCAA Division I title Sunday at KSU Soccer Stadium in Kennesaw, Ga. Fittingly, two seniors, Teresa Noyola and Cam Levin, combined on the winning goal to give the Cardinal a 95-4-4 record during their four seasons.
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Levin said she had never played with teammates who worked harder for each other than this year's Stanford squad, and it was evident on the winning goal in the 53rd minute. Noyola's goal concluded an eight-pass sequence that began with goalie Emily Oliver laying the ball off to center back Alina Garciamendez and involved seven players.
Lindsay Taylor, another of Stanford's four seniors and Cardinal's leading scorer with 20 goals, had the key pass, changing direction and finding Chioma Ubogagu free behind the Duke defense. The freshman laid the ball off to vastly underrated Levin, who lost the ball in a challenge, fell down, got back up and found Noyola behind Duke defender Nicole Lipp at the far post for the open header.
Duke came into the game with the reputation as a big second-half team. The Blue Devils had outscored opponents, 35-6 in the second half and scored three second-half goals in beating Wake Forest, 4-1, in the semifinals.
They came out of the second-half TV timeout and piled the pressure on Stanford as the Cardinal has rarely faced all season.
First, Mollie Pathman found Laura Weinberg in front of the goal, but defender Rachel Quon got just enough to tip Weinberg's shot off target.
Then, a scramble in front of the Stanford ended with Kaitlyn Kerr firing a blast from outside the penalty area that Oliver tipped over the bar.
Oliver, the nation's leading goalie, finished with one goal allowed in six NCAA Tournament games.
Dec. 4 in Kennesaw, Ga.
Stanford 1 Duke 0. Goal: Noyola (Levin) 53.
Stanford -- Oliver, Levin, Garciamendez, Romine, Quon, Noyola, Nogueira, Zurmuhlen, Hing-Glover, Ubogagu, Taylor. Subs: Payne, McCann, Case, Doll, Thompson.
Duke -- Campbell, Jandl, Anasi, Koballa, Haller, Kerr, Lipp, Doria, Cobb, Weinberg, Pathman. Subs: Trees, Lester, DeCesare, Canepa, Straton.
Referee: Juliana Duncan.